We have heard that AbbVie has applied for discontinuance in its case against the EMA, which means the case is over. The court will take the case off the register in the coming weeks and each party will bear its costs.

AbbVie sued the EMA to stop it releasing information from clinical trials of its drugs, as did another pharmaceutical company InterMune. Despite the best intentions of the EMA the injunctions issued against it in those two court cases spilled over to chill other requests for clinical trial information.

Ilaria Passarani of the EU consumer organization BEUC which was an intervener organisation in the case said “We don’t know what are the reasons that led AbbVie to withdraw its applications in the cases they filed against the EMA but we hope InterMune will do the same. The new Clinical Trials Regulation adopted yesterday by a large majority in the European Parliament and more generally the public attention to the issue of transparency of clinical trials over the last year clearly show that the time of secrecy is over. In this context the court cases against EMA seem really anachronistic.”

Ben Goldacre, co-founder of the AllTrials campaign added, “These efforts by AbbVie to impose secrecy on European regulators were scandalous. More than that, they have inflicted huge and unnecessary reputational harm on the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, which ultimately undermines all of medicine. Doctors, patients and researchers must have access to the full methods and results of clinical trials, to make informed decisions about which treatment is best. It cannot make sense for the pharmaceutical industry to continue campaigning against transparency. The world has moved on.”